This old photo is on the surface what simply looks a small building surrounded by a large lawn, but hidden underneath is a massive piece of Sydney history that still exists today. What could it be? I’ll give you some hints. Its 9 metres high, 98 metres wide and a massive 158 metres long. It also played an important role in the growth of the Eastern suburbs in the early 1900s. Do you give up?
This is the top of the Centennial Park Reservoir located at the Northern end of the park adjacent to Oxford Street. It was built in 1899 as a part of the Upper Nepean Water Supply Scheme for water supply particularly to the eastern suburbs.
The “Centennial Park group” has three reservoirs which include the Woollahra Reservoir which was built in 1880 and the Centennial Park number 2 reservoir built in 1925. This is the number 1 reservoir. All three are located along the Oxford Street route to the city.
Other features of the reservoir include a pumping station just to the south and ventilation through roof openings which are masked by the pavilion at the centre of the lawn as well as via hollow fence posts.
The Centennial Parklands blog has some very interesting images of the inside of the reservoir which you can find in our sources section below.
And if you’re wondering what that huge underground space is used for today, it is still used as a reservoir which is a testament to the architecture of the time given it is over 100 years old.
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.
Photo courtesy of State Records NSW via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/c4WJeU)